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Italian Stocks: Amplifon, Buzzi, Fondiaria, Intesa, Safilo Group

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Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index dropped 52.35, or 0.3 percent, to 20,541.59 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Milan.

The following stocks were among the most active in the Italian market today.

Amplifon SpA (AMP IM) fell 4.8 percent to 3.40 euros, the stock’s lowest price in more than four months. The world’s largest hearing-aid distributor agreed to pay 460 million Australian dollars ($445 million) for National Hearing Care.

Equita Sim SpA, which has a “buy” rating on Amplifon, said in a note that “the price paid for NHC is full. The multiple paid is slightly above the current Audika SA multiple, the main listed peer, and Amplifon’s historical average multiple.”

Benetton Group SpA (BEN IM) gained 2 percent to 5.65 euros as the shares of Italy’s biggest clothing retailer rose above its 100-day moving average after breaking its 20- and 50-day moving averages yesterday.

Buzzi Unicem SpA (BZU IM) sank 2.7 percent to 7.85 euros, ending two days of gains. BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research downgraded Italy’s second-biggest cement maker to “neutral” from “buy.” The brokerage said that second-half earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will be 17 percent lower than a year earlier.

Danieli SpA (DAN IM) advanced for a fourth straight day, rising 3.7 percent to 17.35 euros. The company said fiscal full-year net income rose 49 percent to 201 million euros ($272.84 million), according to a statement distributed by the Italian exchange.

Mediobanca Securities and Intermonte Sim SpA lifted their price estimates to 24.40 euros from 23 euros and to 20.10 euros from 19.20 euros, respectively.

Finmeccanica SpA (FNC IM) added 1.3 percent to 8.65 euros, the stock’s third day of gains. The company said it won a contract to supply 12 M-346 fighter trainers to the Singapore government, according to a statement distributed by the Italian exchange. It valued the contract at about 250 million euros.

Fondiaria-Sai SpA (FSA IM) fell 1.5 percent to 7.41 euros, extending yesterday’s 1.8 percent loss. Gruppo Banca Leonardo, which has an “underweight” rating on the stock, highlighted in a note that its “2010 dividend estimate of 0.40 euros -- in line with consensus -- is flat year-on-year and might reveal itself too optimistic should equity and credit markets weaken in the fourth quarter.”

Chief Executive Officer Fausto Marchionni yesterday said it’s “too soon” to discuss dividends, Adnkronos newswire reported, citing comments the executive made to reporters in Turin.

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP IM) dropped 1.2 percent to 2.41 euros. Hammer Partners said in a note that Credit Agricole SA and Italy’s second-biggest bank need to recapitalize based on the proposed Basel III rules on capital reserves.

Shares of tiremaker Pirelli & C. SpA (PC IM) fell 1.3 percent to 5.87 euros as automobile stocks dropped in Europe, led by Michelin & Cie. after the French company said it plans to raise 1.2 billion euros by selling new shares.

Safilo Group SpA (SFL IM) surged 7.8 percent to 9.49 euros, the shares’ biggest gain in four months. It renewed a license agreement with Christian Dior Couture until 2017, according to a statement distributed by the Italian exchange.

Saras SpA (SRS IM) climbed 4.6 percent to 1.45 euros, the highest in almost seven weeks. Credit Suisse Group AG lifted its recommendation on the owner of the largest oil refinery in the Mediterranean to “outperform” from “neutral.” The brokerage said in a note that the “recent underperformance provides an attractive entry point to a stock that should see its operational performance improve.”

UniCredit SpA (UCG IM), Italy’s biggest bank, lost 1.1 percent to 1.87 euros, the shares’ first decline in four days, as banking stocks retreated across Europe after a slump in Irish and Portuguese bonds prompted concern that the sovereign-debt crisis is worsening.

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